08 OCT 2019: Hotels across Canada are courting furry travellers by offering luxe amenities ranging from customized bedding, canine room service, pet-sitting and souvenirs from their stay.

Many Fairmont Hotels welcome pets for a fee of $50 per night, while owners may face extra charges for cleaning costs or violating policies about leaving pets unattended in the room.

At the chain's Vancouver location, perks include a welcome mat in the room, bowls with bottled water, specialty treats, a brochure of pet-friendly activities and a special in-room menu featuring such delicacies as prime rib bones with gravy lacquer for $12.

The hotel even has a pair of Labradors, Ella and Ellie, who welcome humans and pets alike.

These “canine ambassadors” are the second generation of pups posted to the front lobby of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in a program that has spread to its counterparts around the country, said Fairmont Gold Manager Darren Klingbeil, who is also Ella's “dad.”

“We've definitely seen an influx in dogs coming to the hotel,” said Klingbeil. “We probably have, at one time, a dozen dogs in the hotel.”

He attributed this wave of jet-setting pets to changes airlines have made to expedite pet travel, as well as the rise of emotional-support animals.

Emma Hutchinson, a sales ambassador at The Loden in Vancouver, noted that the city itself has become more pet-friendly with its walking paths, verdant parks and increasing number of establishments that allow dogs.

“It's like having a child,” said Hutchinson. “They just want their dog to be treated like a VIP.”

To cater to these expectations, Hutchinson said the hotel's staff aims to go above and beyond in greeting canine guests by name, which is also written on a door hanger as part of a welcome package that includes a dog lifestyle magazine and a Loden leash that their humans can take home.

It faces stiff competition from the Opus Vancouver in Yaletown, which boasts a “Bow-Wow Butler” who can arrange grooming, nail trimming and even a cake from a local canine-centric bakery.

In Montreal, the Loews Hotel Vogue accepts both cats and dogs for a $25 fee, providing pet-sitting and walking services so guests can explore the city freely.

For more adventurous animals, there's also Storeytown Cottages, about a one-hour drive southeast of Miramichi, N.B., where pooches can float down the river in a customized tube with an insert to protect against claw-induced punctures.

Owner Christine Bray said Storeytown Cottages added the $25 “Tailwaggers' Retreat” package because so many guests wanted to bring their pets, so they thought they should offer a “little extra something,” including a souvenir bandana that says “Ruffin' it on the River.”

Pets looking to enjoy the outdoors in the lap of luxury can also check into the Four Seasons Whistler, where the concierge team has a map of dog-friendly sites and activities in the B.C. resort town, including waterfalls, snowshoe adventures and more than 35 kilometres of off-leash trails.

To relax from these expeditions, canine guests can lounge in customized beds including one that offers orthopedic support, and others that are shaped like a pineapple or a tent. They can also mingle at the “patio kennel,” while their owners sip on cocktails nearby.

“There's definitely a market that's opening up,” said Eleanor Gilkes, the hotel's public relations executive. “Especially now, a lot more people are able to more easily move around with their dogs. And they expect all kinds of amenities.”

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